Othello’s Honor

Othello, a play by William Shakespeare, is a story of honor. Othello is a Moorish general who is married to Desdemona, a Venetian noblewoman. Othello’s honor is put to the test when he is tricked by Iago, another Venetian nobleman, into believing that Desdemona has been unfaithful. Othello’s honor leads him to kill his wife in order to save his own reputation. However, Othello’s honor also causes his downfall, as Iago’s scheme is revealed and Othello kills himself in despair. In the end, Othello’s honor is both his strength and his weakness.

The themes of jealousy and deception are exemplified in the play Othello. The drama begins when Othello, a general in the Venetian army, has incurred Iago’s wrath (a member of the military) by promoting Cassio (an army officer) to lieutenant. Iago believes that he is more deserving of the promotion than Cassio, so he vows to do anything to get back at both Othello and Cassio. To exact revenge on Othello, Iago decides to use Desdemona as his tool. 

Iago tells Othello that Desdemona is cheating on him with Cassio. Othello, consumed with jealousy, decides to kill his wife and Cassio. Othello’s Honor is a story of how Othello’s trust in Iago leads to Othello’s downfall. Othello is a tragic hero who falls from grace because of his own fatal flaw: jealousy. Jealousy leads Othello to believe Iago’s lies about Desdemona and Cassio, and ultimately causes Othello to lose everything he holds dear.

Honor is another important theme in the play. Othello’s honor is damaged when Iago spreads lies about Desdemona’s infidelity. Othello tries to restore his honor by killing Desdemona and Cassio, but in the end, he only brings more shame upon himself. Othello’s Honor is a tragedy about the destructive power of jealousy and the importance of honor.

Othello foolishly believes Iago and accuses Desdemona of being unchaste, and he subsequently kills her. Because he is concerned about the impact of Desdemonas unfaithfulness on his reputation, Othello murders Desdemona.

Othello is Othello is too trusting and allows his emotions to get in the way of reason. Othello is a tragic hero because he falls from a position of power and respect. Othello was a general in the army and was married to Desdemona. Othello starts to believe Iago’s lies that Desdemona is being unfaithful. Othello then kills Desdemona out of anger and jealousy. Othello’s downfall is caused by his own actions and flaws. Othello is too trusting, gullible, and jealous. These flaws lead to Othello’s demise.

“Villain, assure yourself that my love is a strumpet! / Assure yourself of it; I want ocular proof;/ or, by the value of my eternal soul, you had been better born a dog than to answer my awakened fury!” (3.3.356) Only a missing handkerchief provides evidence that Desdemona was having an affair. Based on this alone, Othello comes to the conclusion that Desdemona has been telling him lies.

Othello’s honor is Othello’s downfall because Othello cannot see past his pride to the truth. Othello would rather believe that Desdemona is cheating on him, than to think that he may be wrong. Othello’s Honor is Othello’s downfall. Othello cannot see past his pride to the truth and this leads him to his demise.

Othello would have disregarded Iago’s comments if he truly believed Desdemona to be an honest woman. Othello, however, more concerned with his own reputation than with Desdemona’s life, allows Iago’s lies to dominate him until he decides that the only way to restore his reputation is to kill her: “By heaven, I saw my handkerchief in my hand! / O perjured woman! You make me call what I intended a murder and consider it a sacrifice. / The handkerchief was visible.” (5.2.62).

Othello’s decision to murder Desdemona is based solely on his own honor; he cannot live with the dishonor that would be associated with a wife who was unfaithful. Othello’s misplaced focus on his own honor leads to his downfall, and ultimately his death.

Iago has been lying to Othello the entire time, and when he discovers this, it is too late. Emilia informs him, “Moor, she was chaste. She adored you, cruel Moor; so come my soul to bliss as I speak the truth” (5.2.246). After hearing this , Othello becomes very gloomy and complains about how he “threw a pearl away richer than all his people” (5.2.343). The emotional suffering that Othello experiences after finding out that he has been deceived displays just how important his reputation or “honor” is to him.

Othello is willing to give up his own life in order to clear his name and prove that he is not the murderer. Othello’s suicide at the end of the play is a testament to his honor. Even though he has been wronged, he takes responsibility for his actions and ends his own life rather than living with the shame. Othello’s tragic story is one of a man who places a great deal of value on his honor and reputation. He is willing to go to great lengths to protect his name, even if it means sacrificing his own life.

Othello places a high value on his reputation and does not care about the reputations of others. If Othello had trusted Desdemona for her honesty, he would have disregarded Iago and never murdered Desdemona. He should have known that Iago has every incentive to deceive him. Instead, because he is afraid of anything tarnishing his reputation, Othello believes Iago. The death of Desdemona, the emotional devastation caused by her death, which leads to his own death are all consequences of Othello’s actions.

Othello’s fear of his reputation being damaged leads him to make decisions that in the end only damage his reputation. Othello is so caught up in what other people think of him that he can not see what is happening right in front of him.

Othello’s honor is more important to him than anything else, including the people he loves. His need to be respected and have a good reputation drives him to make some very rash decisions. Othello would rather die than live with the shame of what others might think of him. In the end, his obsession with his honor destroys everything he loves and leads to his own death. If Othello had valued the people in his life more than his own honor, things might have turned out differently for him.

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